The Big(ger) Picture: 3 ways idea markets can change the world

Ideamarkets.org is not just a platform, but a protocol for decentralized curation markets. Here are 3 possibilities:

Scientific findings

Conflicts of interest, ideological fashion trends, and centralization create incentives that directly oppose the chief aims of science. Idea markets can fix this.


Like banks and media, institutional science is enormously centralized: over 50% of all scientific findings are published by the same 5 corporations, with profit margins up to 40 percent:

“These large commercial publishers have huge sales, with profit margins of nearly 40 percent,” study leader Vincent Larivière from the University of Montreal in Canada said in a press release. “While it’s true that publishers have historically played a vital role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the print era, it is questionable whether they are still necessary in today’s digital era.”

Publishing their results in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, the team looked at all scientific articles published in the Web of Science database between 1973 and 2013, and found that five companies have published more than half of them since 2006: Reed-Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer and Sage. (source)

False results

Dr. Richard Horton — Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet — said this in 2015:

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” (source)

This was echoed by New England Journal of Medicine’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Marcia Angell:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.” (source)

Suppression of breakthroughs

Reputation risk punishes scientists for breaking taboos. For example, the military takes these topics seriously, but institutional science ridicules them:

While billions of dollars are donated to SETI to listen to the dial tone of the universe, Air Force officials who witnessed UFOs tamper with nuclear weapons are virtually ignored.

A public marketplace for scientific credibility would replace reputation risk with financial risk, encouraging heretical thought and establishing “venture science” as the new paradigm.

Breakthrough solutions to global warming, cancer, energy, and every other important issue may be hiding in already-published literature, kept secret by sheer incredulity. Idea markets could reveal them.

How to do it

Adjust Idea markets’ code to require every submission to be a sci-hub.com link. Display article titles in the front end.

Personal tokens

An idea market would be an ideal hub for “personal tokens.” James Gallagher pioneered the concept as personal equity, but an idea market would do it a bit differently.

People can create tokens representing themselves, and friends, family, and fans can support them by buying. Buying increases visibility and opportunities for the person, and by extension the potential for follow-on investors to bring profit to early investors. Yet these tokens would not represent equity, and the tokenized person would not formally owe anything to token holders.

This model powers a fascinating social reward dynamic—people closest to the person can benefit most from their success, and are thus incentivized to form a tight support network. Personal tokens on an idea market reward communities in a similar pattern to the way people care about each other naturally.

(Thanks Emma Salinas)

Personal tokens + social network = Patreon x Reddit x LinkedIn

A possible next step is to create social profiles to correspond with personal tokens. This would enable breakthroughs in:

  • Entrepreneurship — People can become “open startups” by sharing their plans, their projects, and their budgets.
  • Recruiting—HR departments can sort the list of personal tokens by price, industry, and availability.
  • Patronage—Artists can get paid in proportion to the attention they deserve, as decided by the market.

Idea markets can thus:

  • Quantify the confidence we’ve inspired in peers and colleagues, bringing the job market closer to meritocracy
  • Streamline the recruiting process, as everyone is collected in a free, public database
  • Reward communities for helping their members succeed, and
  • Create a global market for supporting the arts (Patronage as an asset class, Simon de la Rouviere)

Amazon marketplace

People pay for marketing already — in this case, the best books and products would get it “for free.”

A centralized front end that ensures every submission is a referral link would generate revenue without charging fees.


If you want to work on any of these, send me a message on Telegram or Twitter.

Join our community: https://t.me/joinchat/GqbLsRWJOEjD_aTKJA96lQ

Written by

Founder at ideamarkets.org — Switched to personal newsletter at mikeelias.com

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